Announcement: Maryland’s First Solar Array Inspired by Maryland’s Pollinator-Friendly Solar Legislation
Partnership with WGL Energy, National Geographic, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, and OneEnergy Renewables, to generate clean, affordable solar energy and support local agriculture and public schools.
Today Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles and State Senator Michael Hough were joined by executives from Cypress Creek Renewables, the National Geographic Society, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, OneEnergy Renewables, and WGL Energy to showcase the first solar array inspired by Maryland’s statewide legislation supporting pollinator-friendly solar sites.
Baker Point solar, located in Frederick County, is Maryland’s newest solar site, producing enough electricity annually to power the equivalent of more than 2,000 homes. National Geographic and Monumental Sports (for the Capital One Arena in Washington, DC) will purchase the electricity produced by this solar project, matched with national solar renewable energy credits, through a long-term contract with WGL Energy Services, Inc.
This is not a typical solar site. In addition to producing clean, renewable energy, Baker Point solar hosts honey-producing hives that each produce an average of 30 pounds of honey each season. Tended by an acclaimed University of Maryland honeybee biologist, the pollinators will forage for nectar and pollen widely throughout the solar site, which has been seeded with nine different species of native long-stemmed and short-growing flowers and warm-season grasses.
“To see the Baker Point project progress from our initial concept to such a great example of how solar projects can and should be developed is very rewarding. We’re thrilled to partner with Cypress Creek, WGL Energy and Fresh Energy to deliver clean, renewable energy to Nat Geo and the Capital One Arena–while raising the bar on how solar projects can be developed to support the neighboring agricultural community.”
Fast Facts About Baker Point
9 megawatts is enough to power the equivalent of 2,000 homes
34,074 solar modules
Located along Old Frederick Road in Thurmont, Maryland
About 100 local workers employed during construction
Cypress Creek will pay more than $2 million to local governments, including schools, over the lifetime of the project
Pollinator habitat consists of nine different species of native long-stemmed and short-growing flowers
Cypress Creek is leasing the land from Glenn and Rebecca Eaves, who are strongly supporting a portion of their land being used to generate renewable energy
National Geographic and Monumental Sports are purchasing power produced at Baker Point to power its headquarters and Capital One Arena respectively
Capital One Arena is now operating using 25% solar energy
National Geographic Society is now powering their headquarters with approximately 50% solar energy
Quote from State Senator Michael Hough
“I am proud that our district now has the first solar farm designed to meet Maryland’s preference for pollinator habitat at solar farms. Solar energy is a growing part of our country’s economy and I’m thrilled to see Cypress Creek Renewables investing in Frederick County and providing a new source of income for local farming families.”
Quote from Peter Farlekas, President, Engineering, Procurement & Construction, Cypress Creek Renewables
“Cypress Creek is thrilled to be cutting the ribbon on our first project in Maryland and one of our first projects in the country with pollinator habitat. We’d like to thank WGL Energy, National Geographic, Monumental Sports & Entertainment and OneEnergy Renewables for playing an integral role in bringing this project to fruition.”
Quote from Rebecca Eaves and Glenn Eaves, Jr., landowners of Baker Point Solar
“As lifelong farmers, my family has made a living growing crops. Now, we’re using a portion of our property to harvest a new crop, the sun. Cypress Creek Renewables and Baker Point solar have provided us the opportunity to generate affordable energy for people that need it and more property tax dollars for the schools that our grandkids attend. We could not be more excited to be a part of this solar project.”
Quote from Michael Ulica, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating and Financial Officer, National Geographic Society
“The National Geographic Society empowers us all to generate solutions for a healthy and more sustainable future. That’s why sourcing clean, solar energy for our headquarters makes perfect sense. In addition, solar provides an important habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies, helping to maintain a planet in balance, which is something National Geographic works toward each and every day.”
Quote from Kirsten Traynor, Beekeeper at Baker Point solar and Editor, American Bee Journal
“Beekeepers across the state are grateful for the state legislature’s actions to increase pollinator habitat. Pollinators like honey bees provide every third bite we eat, but are often starved in our fragmented landscape. Last year alone, our state lost 55% of their honey bee colonies. It is our hope that the pollinator solar bill and projects such as Cypress Creek Renewables’ Baker Point project will provide important habitat that supports pollinator health, while also increasing awareness of our intertwined relationship to these fragile creatures.”
Quote from Roger Moskowitz, Vice President Global Partnerships, Monumental Sports
“Sustainability is at the core of our operations across all of Monumental Sports & Entertainment. This exciting partnership with WGL Energy and Cypress Creek Renewables means that Capital One Arena is now operating using 25% solar energy.”
Quote from Rob Davis, Director, Center for Pollinators in Energy, Fresh Energy
“Earlier this year, the Maryland legislature unanimously established a standard for vegetation on solar arrays to provide benefits to pollinators and it’s easy to understand why — farmers, agricultural groups, and environmentalists are all actively looking for solutions to the pollinator crisis that can be deployed as scale. Baker Point is an example and great start — pollinator-friendly solar sites can provide a rare win, win, win opportunity for agriculture, the economy, and the environment.”
Quote from Dr. Louis Hutchinson, Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, WGL
“The offsite solar project celebrated today represents a breakthrough model for renewable energy customers that will continue to attract organizations such as arenas, ballparks and corporations facing onsite installation obstacles that can now switch to solar, reduce their carbon footprint and support the environment.”